PFD... auto inflates when submerged

I was down at the Big Cypress National Preserve (Florida).

They offered a canoe trip for a few hrs.

New PFD’s if you get it wet, as in falling overboard etc, it will self inflate.

Anybody try these …I assume they are a new idea but maybe not ??

Also wondering if they are kayak friendly & don’t ride up around your neck.

They seemed fine with the canoes but I wasn’t about to jump in the water to truly test them out.

Not really new technology
I can tell you the military has used these for years. They are standard equipment on many Navy ships. I personally use a manual inflator when doing flat water canoe paddling on local lakes. The auto inflators I used in the Navy seem to be very reliable. I can tell you the ones made by Stearns use a mechanism that is nearly identical to the military ones I used to work on.

marine hardware stores sell them
been around for decades.

Opps, I forgot
If the ones the rental place uses are the U-shaped or horse collar style, that is what I use in either my canoe or kayak, it’s comfort a big reason why I like it. The vest style was what I had in the Navy, obviously never got to do much paddling there. They were extremely comfortable and secure when worn properly

Two kinds of auto-inflate PFD’s
One inflates on contact with water, doesn’t take much. The other, called hydrostatic, inflates on submersion. The latter is used by game wardens in Texas and by many pro bass fishermen. Of course, the latter wear them because of sponsorships.

seemed nice…
These kind inflated when a small vial filled with water, so I might be confused which style it would be refered to.

Might as well ask if they are approved in both the US and in Canada.


I’ve a manual inflatable
Have to pull the cord to inflate it. The are legal as PFD’s in the US, but, to be considered a PFD, they must be worn. Tucking one under the deck bungees doesn’t count.

Be careful what boat…
A buddy of mine made the mistake of wearing an automatic one in a sea kayak once. But only once.

We paddled to a beach on the MA/RI line for lunch, and had to launch into some decent (Maybe chest high) surf afterward. I made it out past the break just in time to see Pat launch. He made it to the first wave, and it broke on his deck. Then I heard a loud hissing noise, and Pat yelling “WTF???”. Then I saw Pat’s face ringed by a large yellow PFD come out of the wave, followed by his kayak. I think we all laughed for 10 minutes after that.

He hasn’t worn it kayaking since.

Not new, a pain for kayaking
we get wet plenty of times where we don’t need survival flotation. Then you have to deflate, repack, and recharge them.

Best for sailors, fishermen in powerboats, etc.

I haven’t yet found a kayak PFD that
does not ride up. They make whitewater models that are tacky in places, and one cinches them down to the point of discomfort, and they still ride up. There aren’t any that don’t, but some are better than others.